Groundhog Predicts Six More Weeks

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It seems we won't be treated to an early spring this year, instead having to put up with winter a little while longer. There's a folklore that if the groundhog sees his shadow, there will be more winter weather. What does it mean? Legend has it if a furry rodent casts a shadow on Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, expect six more weeks of winter-like weather. "How he managed to see his shadow with clouds blocking the sun is a bit of a mystery", said Capital Weather Gang's Jason Samenow.

While groundhogs and other critters make similar predictions across the nation on Groundhog Day, it is Phil's that is followed the most closely.

His prediction this year comes after record-breaking freezing temperatures across North America and an unusually powerful winter storm known as a "bomb cyclone."

More than a century later, Groundhog Day has taken on a life of its own.

Out on Staten Island, Chuck the groundhog predicted an early spring. These Germans who traveled to the US and settled in Pennsylvania continued to practice the tradition where they changed the animal from a hedgehog to a groundhog, because of a large population of the latter in Pennsylvania.

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Gen. Beauregard Lee, Georgia's weather prognosticator, came out of his new home at Dauset Trails Nature Center in Butts County and saw his shadow, predicting six more weeks of winter.

Clymer Freas ran The Punxsutawney Spirit in 1887 and dubbed Phil the official groundhog forecaster in the United States.

"This is one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather". Phil has done slightly better in recent years, getting the forecast right 46 percent of the time since 1988.

But don't completely write off an early taste of Spring this year just yet - there was one dissenter, Staten Island Chuck, who predicted a quick demise of the cold snap of 2018. While Phil's predictions may be more correct for regions around the Great Lakes, the southern part of the country - specifically those in Florida - can largely ignore what the groundhog sees.

The Oklahoma City Zoo holds a Groundhog Day observance every year, but they don't have any groundhogs so they use grizzly bears Will and Wiley.